STEVE HANLON: Look who landed on his feet

2011-10-13T20:00:00Z 2012-08-30T23:49:09Z STEVE HANLON: Look who landed on his feetBy Steve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
October 13, 2011 8:00 pm  • 

He almost disappeared. Poof. He was gone.

It was like Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Hoffa, D.B. Cooper and, until a few months ago, Osama bin Laden were rolled up into a high school football coach.

I wish I had a nickel for every time someone asked me, "Whatever happened to Bob Holmes, you know, the football coach at Michigan City?"

Well, his tale of two cities ended after the 2006 football season, under a different administration at City. He wasn't just shown the door. He had a swinging foot on his backside when he left the program he had coached from 2002 through 2006.

Holmes was 16-35 with the Wolves. And from 1992 through 2001 he led South Central to a respectable 50-36 record.

Everyone at the Duneland doormat was so excited that Craig Buzea was taking over that they didn't even help Holmes carry his books to his car.

But you better be careful what you wish for. Buzea was there for three seasons before bolting for the Land of Obama.

Holmes is doing just fine. While City is 1-7 heading into tonight's game at Crown Point, Holmes is coaching at Bremen, where the Lions are 8-0 and ranked No. 5 in this week's Class 2A state poll.

"When I went to Bremen I was ready to retire, I was tired and I needed to rest," said Holmes, a 1983 LaPorte grad who still lives in his hometown.

A political lynching that is based on nothing brings fatigue to the person being accused. So Holmes didn't coach football his first year out east, but as an assistant on the girls basketball team.

There was no cure for the football bug, so Holmes assisted Rich Moren for two seasons on the grid. He is in his second season in charge.

Last Friday, Bremen drove to Jimtown and pounded the Jimmies 27-13.

"We started 2-3 last year, it took the kids some time to buy into the system," Holmes said. "But we won seven in a row and won our first sectional in (13) years. And we gave Rensselaer everything we had in the regional."

Does anyone remember that? The Bombers had to go overtime before beating Holmes 35-28.

"It was a war," Holmes recalled last week. "It was a great high school football game."

Holmes did not want to talk much about what happened at City. He felt he was wronged, and from all I've heard I believe he was right. Yes, the devil is in the details, but from all I've heard "something" was brought up just so Buzea could come aboard.

For three years. Good move.

"It wasn't extremely flattering," Holmes said. "There was a lot of misinformation. I left, and I've never really talked about it. It was one of the toughest parts of my career I've ever had to deal with.

"It was a heartbreaking time for me. Accusations were made that were not true. It took a lot out of me. I feel rejuvenated here."

Holmes coached with Valparaiso's Mark Hoffman and Morton's Roy Richards in last July's North-South All-Star game. One of Richards' best friends is Andrean coach Phil Mason.

Holmes is hoping the two meet in about a month. For one reason. It would mean that Bremen won its second-straight sectional title.

"You know, I went to a different school and the kids bought into the system here," Holmes said. "We started to have some success, and it started to grow.

"It's just really rewarding to see the young kids buying in. It's been a lot of fun."

And it's great to see a good football coach not give up on his dream. He could've. He didn't. He deserves this first down of fortune.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

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